August Reading Favorites

My reading momentum in the month of August definitely slowed down. August is this really awkward in between’ish transition month for me. I feel it every year. It’s the last month of summer and being a mood reader, I am in this weird space where I want to binge the last bit of my summer reads but am also *over* the heat and ready to dive head first into my fall reads.

So faithfully every year, it’s like I go super hard in July then August comes around and I’m at this fork in the road..like what do I go with? I did read a few things though that I really enjoyed, so let’s chat about them.

First up is Cowboy to the Core by Maisey Yates.

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Maisey Yates’s writing abilities always stir up all kinds of emotions in me that I don’t expect to see coming. This is book six in her Gold Valley series, which I highly recommend losing yourself in if you’re looking for a new series. At this point, we are seeing two very prominent families start to blend, but in this one we follow Jamie Dodge and Gabe Dalton. Both of these characters are so complex and so complicated. Maisey Yates writes some of the best internal conflict I’ve ever read. It adds so much depth to the romance itself. It was perfection. I could go on and on about Cowboy to the Core, but seriously, just go read it!

Yes, your girl has already started reading my favorites, the holiday romances. Next up is Christmas With the Marine by Candace Havens.

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Christmas With the Marine is Ben and Ainsley’s romance. The two meet in the shopping mall where Ben has been tasked with buying toys on behalf of his unit for the local Toys for Tots drive. While there, he runs into Ainsley who is this rich girl, who has started her own business as a professional shopper..out here trying to make money of her own and get out of the shadow of her rich parents. This romance takes place in Texas which is always fun to read being that I live here. I love seeing the military camaraderie, but we also see the flip side, where Ainsley’s Dad doesn’t think Ben is good enough for his daughter. I thought that a very interesting perspective to add to the story. It definitely presented some conflict. I really enjoyed it. It hooked me right from the beginning, but I won’t say anything further! In December, you’ll be able to see more of my thoughts.

My next two..

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First up is Grading Curves by Naima Simone.

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Naima Simone serves us a wonderfully served, interracial, older woman younger man, professor/student novella and I loved every minute of it. Long story short: lady professor goes to get a tattoo and gets way more than that. Goes to work a few days later and tattoo boo is one of her new students. Simone’s writing is magical and I am so obsessed with her. I need to own everything she’s written.

My last favorite was literally less than 30 pages, but trust me on this: Sierra Simone wrote it, so it’s the right mixture of dark, sexy as hell and twisted.

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The Seduction of Molly O’Flaherty is a historical, is erotic. I loved the hell out of this book. The story kicks off with something really messed up to Molly. We don’t witness the act, but we see how Molly is struggling with it. Enters Silas who Molly has been friends with for a very long time.

“Somehow along the way, somewhere in our decade of friendship, I’d fallen in love with Silas. And I had no way to process that revelation.”

In true Sierra Simone fashion, it feels so wrong, but is so damn right, it’s irresistible. You get hooked. Despite what has happened to Molly, she makes the choice to sit still, and allow Silas to take care of her, to take what’s happened away and make her feel good.  I’ll leave you with this:

“Whose little doll are you?” Silas asked. “Yours,” I whispered, still malarial from my incredible orgasm. “Only yours.” “And who takes care of you?” “You do.” He nudged in a little deeper, so I could feel exactly how much he stretched me. “And what are you going to do right now?” “Not move.” I moaned as he slid in farther. “Let you make me feel good.”

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Let me know your reading favorites from August and until next time, take care of yourselves.

xo.

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3 Awesome July Reads

Hey hey Friends. I know it’s August now, but for real, I knew it was the end of July but it didn’t really hit me until I was typing in the date being August 1st. So here I am (finally) sharing a bit of a reading wrap up for the month of July.

I read 21 books in July. Out of those 21, most were really great reading experiences but there were a few duds. If you’re not friends with me on Goodreads, you can follow me here, to keep up with what I’m reading and vice versa.

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First up is Returning His Favor by Jacqueline Francis.

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Returning His Favor has the hero we deserve in 2019. It is sexy as hell, an emotional roller coaster and overall a really amazing read. Typically when I see Amish romances, they appear to be very sweet and cozy which is cool, but this one takes a different path without being disrespectful, yet still an insightful look into a culture different from my own.

I don’t think I’ve stopped thinking about A Lesson In Thorns by Sierra Simone since finishing it. I actually threw the book into the hands of my husband, made him download Audible..and he’s currently listening to it right now.

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A Lesson In Thorns is a dark, twisted fairy tale like story. Sierra Simone in my opinion is our modern day, gothic romance author, but sexier than what the genre may have been known for once upon a time. I love that about her.

My last favorite from July was Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne.

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I went into this one really not knowing much about it and am glad I did. I was quickly sucked into the story which has a plot line that typically causes me a lot of anxiety but it made sense with this one. With this being the first in a new series, I’m very excited to see what is going to come next from this very nontraditional group of friends.

Let me know what your reading favorites were in July. I can’t believe we are already in August. Hello..I just bought three fall candles from Michael’s..and Halloween lights for my kids to put up. It made me so happy.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. We will chat again soon.

xo.

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June in Review

We have made it through another month Friends. I can’t believe this is it for June 2019 yet am excited to see what July has in store for me. June was a month of ups and downs per usual and a few things happened that solidified for me that I still have work to do, personally. Even with all of the craziness that was going on, I still made reading a priority and finished 17 books.

Per my usual, I am going to share my thoughts on my favorites from this month, so let’s get into it.

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First up is Rebel by Beverly Jenkins.

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At this point, I don’t think it’s possible for Queen Bev to have a miss. Staying on brand with her norm, Ms. Jenkins effortlessly weaves historical facts into her love story in a way that it works for me. As a woman of color who wants to adore historical romances just as much as the next romance reader, every time I finish a Jenkins novel, I am so proud to say I (finally) have an author who is writing heroines who I can identify with. Val, our heroine in Rebel, which is book 1 in the Women Who Dare series is so brave and is full of so much passionate. She has no ties to where she is, but is so driven to help the recently freed flourish that nothing could persuade her to leave.

A Duke By Default is next!

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I was so excited about starting Portia and Tavish’s romance. I have so many friends who swear by this book. This is the favorite of so many and I can see why. Portia and Tavish are both complicated as hell but I instantly found myself rooting for both of them. Having loved Reggie from Can’t Escape Love, I was happy to have bits and pieces of her in this story being that she’s Portia’s sister. The ending to this book! Oh my goodness, I swooned so hard. If you haven’t started reading this series, please do so now!

Last but not least is Untamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates. This is book 2 in her Gold Valley series, which is another series I’ve been reading completely out of order.

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Untamed Cowboy is Kaylee and Bennett’s romance. It is very slow burn. Friends to Lovers. Surprise kid, but not what you’d expect. I loved it. I have grown to love the Dodge family so much and each book has it’s own vibe but stays on brand with how close knit the family is. Things between Bennett and Kaylee were intense with both having their own internal conflicts they needed to work through but it was amazing, it all worked. I now only have book 3 to read and then I’ll be all caught up and can move onto the new release, Cowboy to the Core. If you enjoy slow burn, cowboy romance with a strong family element, I can’t recommend this series enough.

I hope you had a wonderful June and read something amazing. Let me know what your reading favorites were this month. Until next time, xo.

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May in Review

May was a blur.

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Reading really came through for me this May. This May was full of crazy hot, long, stressful days and I really tailored my reading to escape. I wanted fun reads. I wanted light romances. I wanted sexy romances and in the end it turned out to be a good reading month.

Overall, I managed to read 11 books in May and will share a few favorites.

I loved The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren.

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The Unhoneymooners was a fun enemies to lovers romance with a fake marriage plot entangled into the story that I couldn’t put down. I haven’t read this author duo’s entire back list but I’d definitely recommend starting with this one to anyone new to their writing.

Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole was a quick read that will stay with me for a long time!

 

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I want to be besties with Reggie (our heroine) from this book. She doesn’t allow her circumstances to define who she is. She is self made. She’s a proud nerd. She blogs. It was so refreshing to see a woman of color as the heroine of her own story, fall in love and she was so damn relatable and so normal.

My third favorite from May was Unbroken Cowboy by Maisey Yates.

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I seriously need to go back and read the prior Gold Valley books but I’m kind of nervous to. I kind of feel like I know enough and need to just keep on reading whatever else comes out next. Unbroken Cowboy was so damn good. This is Dane and Bea’s romance. Dane is a hard headed, stubborn bull rider who was recently hurt and is being looked after by family friend Bea..whose been in love with him secretly for years. I’m sure you can see where this is going. I couldn’t get enough of these two!

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In May, a co-worker of mine left to go to another base. It honestly never gets easier to see people leave but I am so excited for this new journey, new phase of her life. I am trying not to be selfish and dwell on how much it sucks without her around but it can be hard.

The four day weekend for Memorial Day was so very needed and I am so appreciative that it came. Sometimes I think it’s absolutely necessary to have nothing on the agenda to do but spend time lying on the couch doing nothing.

I am excited for June. My son turns 9 years old *can’t believe it* and my Granny turns 80. June 21st will also mark 14 years in the Air Force for me. I still remember the day I left home like it was yesterday. What I wish for myself in June is to practice patience with myself. To give myself a break. To set realistic expectations but also get ahead in areas that I need to. Use time management and get things done. We’ll see..

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September in Review

Hello Friends! I hope you had a wonderful September. I am so sad to see it go already but am so looking forward to a new month. October and November are my two favorite months of the year. October because of Halloween and November because of my birthday. This is honestly the best time of year and strangely, the time of year that I feel like my reading picks up! Not sure, if it is a rush to get things read prior to the year ending, or just because it is such cozy time..

I read quite a bit this September, so let’s get into what I finished.

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September crept in and my reading mood immediately went into cozy mystery mode! Over the course of a few month’s time, I have managed to haul quite a few cozy mystery series that I found sounded interesting, and I have intentionally saved for this time of year. The first series I started with is the Hat Shop Series by Jenn McKinlay and book one is Cloche and Dagger.

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I won’t say too much about the cozy mysteries I read in September in this post, because I will have posts highlighting them coming up in a few weeks, but I really enjoyed this one. If you are looking for a good cozy I definitely recommend it.

Immediately after finishing Cloche and Dagger, I jumped right into book two in the series, which is Death of a Mad Hatter.  I will talk about this one in a future post, but where I thought the first book checked all h boxes for the first in a series, I felt this one really stepped up to the plate. It was super intense, and I had no ideas as to the “who done it?”

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Still in the cozy mystery mood, I picked up the next book in the Book Retreat series, Murder in the Paperback Parlor. I loved this second book in the series so much! In true Book Retreat series fashion, the guests at Storyton Hall are all there for a themed get away and whereas the last crew were mystery lovers, this crew are romance lovers. Be on the lookout for my thoughts so far on this series in an upcoming post.

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I finished The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick which I really enjoyed. I have a full review coming for this novel, but I recommend it if historical fiction is your thing–especially if you enjoy time travel.

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Following The Phantom Tree, I read Family Tree by Susan Wiggs. Back at the end of August I read Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs which I adored so I thought what the heck, let me start the next book on my shelf by her. I literally read this in less than two days. I listened to it on audio while following along with the narrator and could not get enough. It was wonderful. I have a review coming for this one in October so be on the look out for that.

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Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower was my next read, and another cozy mystery. This is book one in the Magical Bookshop series and oh my goodness, I love this series so much. There are currently only two books out, so I am patiently waiting for the release of the third one. I immediately jumped into the second book, Prose and Cons and loved it, I think a tad more than book one. I am currently torn! If I was asked what type of cozy mystery do I prefer, I thought I’d always say the ones involving food but I am finding I love cozies which take place in bookshops. This series not only taking place in a bookshop, but a magical one, just makes it more special. Be on the lookout for a post dedicated to the first two mysteries in this series coming up soon.

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Next, I read the second book in Sarah Morgan’s From Manhattan With Love series, Sunset in Central Park. In book one you meet Paige, Frankie and Eva. The first book was Paige’s romance and this book is Frankie’s. I was super interested in Frankie in book one. She is super against love and romance due to the way she saw her parents’ split take place and everything after. So I was excited to get a book from her perspective. I will admit though, the first few chapters, she frustrated me. Frankie can be a pretty negative person in comparison to Paige and Eva although you understand where she’s coming from. Her story eventually grew on me though. Up next is Eva’s story and hers is, after meeting the girls in book one, the story I’ve looked forward to the most.

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I read my first Candace Osmond novel, Devil’s Heart, which is book one in her Dark Tides trilogy.  This story was gripping. It held me captive until the very ending, and oh don’t get me started on the ending. I highly recommend hauling the first two books at the least, at the same time. I’d be going insane right now if I didn’t have the next book on deck!

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The next read was a re-read for me, and that was Mariana by Susanna Kearsley. I have been hyping this novel up since I read it years ago, so I was bit nervous to re-read it. I had this fear of, “what if it isn’t as good as the first time?”  Never fear however when it comes to Susanna Kearsley. I loved this just as much this go around as I did the first time.

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Next I read a poetry collection written by two new to me romance authors, A Love Letter from the Girls Who Feel Everything by Brittainy C. Cherry and Kandi Steiner. This was a short, beautiful collection. It has some beautiful artwork and I could just tell the authors poured their hearts and souls into it. I loved it.

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid was my next read and I have absolutely no idea why it took me so long to read this book. It is fantastic. It deserves all the hype surrounding it and more. I loved Evelyn. I loved her core group of people she chose to surround herself with and damn, Taylor Jenkins Reid can write a story. This was amazing.

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I finished The Cottages on Silver Beach by Raeanne Thayne next, which is book 8 in her Haven Point series! I can’t believe I have read 8 books in a series! I made it through this one pretty quickly. I was able to get the audiobook from Scribd and once I started listening, was hooked. Raeanne Thaye does a fantastic job of creating characters who are interested in each other but everything besides that just makes things so damn complicated! I loved this one. This series is so near and dear to my heart and I am happy to say the next one up for me, is her new release, Season of Wonder which released on September 25th.

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Next, I finished another cozy mystery and that is, Town in a Blueberry Jam by B.B. Haywood. I have been making my way in and out of this one since early summer, and being that I hauled the entire series in the matter of two trips to the bookstore, I figured I need to start making my way through it. Unlike the other cozies I read this month, this first in the series didn’t leave me with the urge to jump immediately into the next book. I didn’t feel that connection to the story as I did with prior reads but my fingers are crossed that the second book pulls me in.

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My next read was sort of a let down for me, and that Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill. I love poetry and am a fan of short stories and I find it brave when an author decides to put a body of work into the world consisting of both. A lot of readers haven’t found their niche with poetry and short stories don’t work for everyone. I had high hopes for this one though, because I read a previously written poetry collection by Nikita Gill and loved it. This one missed the mark for me though. She hits some very important themes which I appreciate her for not shying away from, but I found myself preferring the poetry over the short stories and after a while, it felt as though I was reading the same thing over and over. It became super repetitive.

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A fun read towards the end of the month was Miracle on 5’th Avenue by Sarah Morgan. I will be posting my thoughts on this one in a review to come, but I will leave you with, I LOVED it! Sarah Morgan’s books are so much fun and so sexy.

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Lastly, I finished I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel. I prefer not to give star ratings to essays, memoirs or any other nonfiction depicting anything personal or based off the author’s life, so although there isn’t a star rating, just know I loved this gem. If you haven’t hauled it, do so. Keep it on your nightstand and just casually read one or two stories here until you’ve finished it. It is one of those books best consumed in bits and pieces. I loved it.

So Friends, those are the books I read in September. It turned out to be a really good reading month for me.

Let me know what you read in September and if you have any new favorites.

 

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July in Review

Hey Friends! I hope all is well with you. Another month has passed us by in what feels like the blink of an eye. As I look back at what I read in July, I am realizing how good of a reading month it was for me. Not necessarily just thinking about how much I read, but in terms of what. I read some really feel good books and read a couple with friends which is always a fun way for me to tackle a book.

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I read The Inn At Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber which I have written a review for. I listened to this via Overdrive and also followed along, which I highly recommend doing if you are interested in starting this series. The narrator, Lorelei King, is fantastic and it is just one of those stories that feels good to have someone read aloud to you. This read as the first book in a series should. As I was reading it, I felt like there was more to come while at the same time, introducing me to the main character and what I can expect from the rest of the series. Jo Marie is the main character, a war widow who moves to Cedar Cove and purchases an Inn. Moving and buying the Inn eventually helps her begin to heal from the loss of her husband and she slowly realizes, that is what she wants the Inn to sort of represent for everyone who stops there; a place for healing.

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Once I finished The Inn At Rose Harbor, I couldn’t resist, and immediately jumped into the second book in the series, Rose Harbor in Bloom. This too, I followed along with the audio book via Overdrive. This was another well crafted story with a cast of characters all healing from something. Annie Newton arrives at the Inn in the midst of coordinating her grandparents fiftieth wedding anniversary while healing from her broken engagement.  With all of the chaos of planning going on and her grandparents not seeming to be able to get along, she is forced to face and be around Oliver Sutton, who, growing up always teased her. We also meet Mary Smith, a business woman who comes to the Inn after being diagnosed with a serious illness. While there, she comes face to face with a lingering regret; the love of her life whom she let go of nineteen years ago. Where I felt like the first book was a great introduction story, Rose Harbor in Bloom jumped right into my heart and shredded it into pieces before bit by bit piecing it together again.

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Next, I read Love Letters which is book three in the Rose Harbor series. In this book, a slight twist happened that I expected but at the same time didn’t expect. Jo Marie has a handy man named Mark who is difficult at times, rough around the edges, but is a good friend to her. But Jo Marie knows nothing about Mark and it is starting to bother her. In this novel, she begins to realize she has been thinking about him a lot more than willing to admit. It was the guests of the Inn though that really tugged at my heartstrings. We meet Ellie, a 23 year old woman taking a leap of faith by traveling to Cedar Cove to meet a guy named Tom whom she’s been corresponding with for months but has never actually met in person and we also meet Maggie and Roy. Maggie and Roy are a married couple who are taking their first vacation together since their children were born. Both have made mistakes in their marriage and they are hoping this vacation will help rekindle the spark in their relationship. I love how vulnerable the characters in this novel had to be. We see them all really have to open themselves up to possibilities. It was great.

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I could’ve totally binged the Rose Harbor Inn series, but I had to keep in mind that I have also been making my way through another series, the Haven Point series by Raeanne Thayne. So I picked up the next book in the series for me, Snowfall on Haven Point. This one follows Andrea Montgomery, a single Mother of two whose police officer husband died in the line of duty. Andrea comes to Haven Point trying to escape a fellow officer and friend of her husband who took advantage of her after her husband passed. We are first introduced to Andrea in the previous book, Riverbend Road when she meets and becomes friends with Wyn Bailey. In Snowfall on Haven Point, Wyn asks Andrea to keep an eye on her brother, Sheriff Marshall Bailey, who was recently injured in a hit and run vehicle accident. Marshall doesn’t like feeling helpless at all, and is not excited to have someone looking after him but the more and more he spends time with Andrea and her kids, his mind starts to change.

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I read another Debbie Macomber novel, her newest release, Cottage by the Sea. I took my time with this one and enjoyed it so much. I read half of it in physical copy and actually listened to the second half with my current free subscription to Scribd. In this story, we follow Annie Marlow who in the blink of an eye’s entire life is rocked by tragedy. As expected, she grieves for a long time, until encouraged to return to somewhere she remembers being happy. Annie returns to Oceanside in the Pacific Northwest and rents the cottage her family used to spend summers in.  It is in Oceanside that Annie begins to restore her spirit. She gradually makes friends with Mellie, her landlord who is a total recluse, Britt who works at a local coffee shop and Keaton, who she’s most drawn to. Keaton is a big strong guy but at the same time quiet and peaceful and the two grow close. As they grow closer though, the chance of a life time lands in Annie’s lap and she’s torn between feeling safe in Oceanside and Keaton’s arms, or this chance toward continued success. Debbie Macomber hasn’t ceased to amaze me yet. I feel like I know what to expect when I pick up one of her novels but she has such an incredible way of creating these characters you care about and these locations that sound so cozy and dreamy, you don’t want to leave.

 

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My last book of July was Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained by Maya Rodale which I buddy read with Becky from Beck’s Books on Youtube. I enjoyed this book so much. In the beginning it felt as though Rodale was hitting points that weren’t anything new, so I became a bit nervous but it started to really get good. I think this book is a must read for romance readers and would be a great conversation started if you were able to convince a non romance reader to read it.

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Share with me what you read in the month of July!! I hope all is well with you, take care of yourselves and until next time, xx

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